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God’s good plan at work in Timor-Leste 

CMS missionaries Chris and Grace Adams are serving in Timor-Leste where they work in a range of ministries, including the development of Bible resources in the Timorese language, TetunIn late 2020 the Tetun translation of ‘The Big Picture Story Bible’ was launched. Grace shares how it is having an impact on the lives of adults as well as children. 

When Nersi and her family moved into a different compound in Hera, Timor-Leste, she noticed that people were keeping their distance. Nersi is a schoolteacher in Dili and is a member of a church linked with Scripture Union Timor-Leste. She sensed it was her family’s faith that was making her neighbours cautious. But she longed to connect with the other families and reach out to the children. 

An art competition provided the solution. 

The winning artworks of the art competition.

The publication of the Tetun-English edition of ‘The Big Picture Story Bible’ has led Scripture Union TL to an opportunity for radio ministry. As part of the radio program, SUTL held an art competition on the topic, ‘God’s promises in the Old Testament’. Nersi encouraged the local children to enter. 

The children were happy to come to Nersi’s veranda for the first time because of this event. They listened to a Bible story and drew pictures together to enter the competition. One of the winners was a boy named Zilton.  

Zilton’s story 

In December I visited Hera to meet Zilton and present him with his certificate and prize. 

Zilton and his extended family welcomed us with warmth. Zilton seemed like a quiet and shy boy; his whole family was surprised that Zilton had won a prize as it seemed that he often goes unnoticed.  

As is the case with many families in Timor-Leste, Zilton’s family doesn’t own even one book, so they were thrilled that he won the Tetun-English edition of ‘The Big Picture Story Bible’ as a prize. Several children immediately gathered around him and began reading the book together. It was heart-warming to see them reading the Bible with such excitement.  

Praise God that we can be an encouragement to Zilton and his family through the art competition and the children’s Bible. Pray that God’s word may take deep root in the lives of these children and their families.

Testing the translation with children at a local community church.

Unexpected blessings 

Nersi was excited to meet us and let us know that she’s been listening to our radio program. She likes it so much that she has downloaded the recordings from our YouTube channel and has been using them as her personal devotion.  

“At last, I get to see this book! Thank you for your work,” she said. 

We were  surprised to hear this. We assumed that the Bible and the radio program were reaching children with God’s word, but praise God  that they are a blessing for adults too.  

Nersi hopes to continue gathering the children from the compound regularly to share God’s word from the ‘Big Picture Story Bible’ and listen to the radio program together. As an English teacher, she also wants to teach English in the community using the book  

“This is all part of God’s good plan,” she explained. Praise God for bringing Nersi, the kids and us together for his mission. Please pray that through Nersi, Zilton and his family may trust in Jesus and receive a new life.

Zilton and Nersi

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